Monday, January 26, 2009

How The Other Half Lives (Part 1)

The other half doesn't painstakingly measure speaker positions to within 1/10th of an inch from each wall and toe-in to within 1/4 of a degree. The other half has too much interest in domestic harmony to place large imposing speakers in living rooms smaller than some peoples' walk-in closets. The other half doesn't call his wife on the way home from work and ask her if she'll switch the phono stage on so the tubes will be nice and hot by the time he gets home. The other half doesn't wince at paying $1000 for a new mattress to replace the one he's had since college while not having so much as a 2nd thought about spending 3 times that on a set of speaker cables. The other half doesn't tolerate CS3.7s taking up valuable floor space in a townhouse livingroom. Hrm...I think the other half is actually around 98% of the population.

This weekend, I slipped unnoticeably away from my Audiophile caravan to join the masses. Rob came over Friday after work and helped me quietly pack my CS3.7s away. Out with them, the Krell KRC-HR, the Synergistic Research cables, and the Butler amp. I have been married precisely 1 year and 8 months, and the big stereo is a gonner. Not that marriage had anything to do with it.

zöet is coming along quite nicely, and after a fantastic showing at CES (not one crash), it's time to turn down the home stretch of debugging and beta testing. Since zöet is quite intentionally a lifestyle product that isn't meant to be thought about as much as simply enjoyed, the best trial is to run it at home. So, the aforementioned audiophile big-rig got traded in for the agile and ergonomic zöet. This isn't exactly the marriage influenced decision it appears to be on the surface - just don't tell my wife. zöet is not the economical and unstylish family sedan of audiophile 2 channel. It's more like the very fast and sporty luxury mid-size that happens to be large enough to fit a carseat. This was not the emasculating trade that it may appear to be at first glance. THIEL doesn't build minivans.

More to come...

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

After what was generally a bad weekend, I am pleased to report (for the few of you who care about these self-indulgent, diary-esque posts) that I had an absolutely blissful hour this evening.

Darling bride had to drive to the Reynolds building to pick up some stuff for some art she's making which left darling daughter and me by ourselves for a bit after dinner. Darling daughter did not take a 2nd nap this afternoon, and at 6:45, I wasn't about to afford her one for fear of an all nighter. We played upstairs with some toys together for only a few minutes after Mom left. Out of the blue, she just broke down and begged to be held. I threw her pink blanket over my shoulder and picked her up. It's nice to be wanted.

We walked downstairs and put on Ryan Adams' Gold on the CS3.7s a little louder than normal to drown out the dishwasher in the next room and the playoffs upstairs. Gold is one of few records made after 2000 that I know ALL the words to. Quietly I sang halfway to myself, halfway to her. She's got to be the only person on the planet who doesn't run for the hills when I sing. After the 2nd track, I looked down at her laying on my shoulder, and she was asleep. She, the girl who awakens at the slightest sound at any other time was sound asleep on me with the stereo up and the lights on.

Since she was born, darling bride and I have been unsuccessful getting her to sleep through the night on a regular basis. I panicked a little actually. It's barely 7 o'clock. If I put her in the crib now, she'll be up at midnight. Besides, she didn't get a diaper change or her PJs. But if she naps, we'll be done for. We won't even get her to bed until midnight. Even still, there's no guarantee that she'll sleep through the night. Arg!

But oh my God, she was so cute lying with her cheek on my shoulder and open palm on my chest. Walking around with this sight in my eyes and La Cienega Just Smiled in my ears was just too much. This was perfect. I used to take weekend afternoon naps with Nattie when she was a little baby just like this (but 15dB quieter at least). We'd settle on the green chair beside the left speaker together listening to Neil Young or Nick Drake, or Lambchop. She'd nap for hours and I'd just bask in mellow guitars.

I wanted her to sleep and I wanted to listen to Ryan Adams. By the time Rescue Blues was done, I was done singing and ready to sit down. I switched off the bright overhead light leaving only the dim yellow lamps. We sat down right in the middle of the couch, the sweet spot, and chilled out.

Somehow Someday somehow didn't wake her up. I never turned it down. The dishwasher stopped so the music seemed much louder now, but if I stood up to get the remote, would Nattie wake up? Better not to risk it. So there we laid without moving any more than a finger nearly all the way to the end. No one could expect her to sleep through the rollicking Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues.

She woke up looking just as surprised as I must have an hour before when I found her sleeping on me. Not bothered surprised; pleasantly surprised. Moments later Mom came home and it was over. Back to normal.

Two of my favorite things happened tonight at once, and neither of them has happened in ages. Nattie napped softly on my chest just like she'd done hundreds of times as an infant. And I got to sit in the sweet spot listening to one of the best albums by my favorite song writer. That the two happened at once was a priceless and cherished coincidence. One hour this evening totally turned my weekend around.

Labels: ,